At long last time for the interview with Chanel Hardy has finally arrived. Chanel is the author of Mahogany Tales: Modern Urban Retelling of Classic Fairy Tales, and Was It Her? and the featured book of this tour My Colorblind Rainbow.
How did you determine the storyline?
When I first thought of the story, I knew it would be an interracial love story. I don’t think it was originally going to be YA, but adult fiction. The 1940’s era I knew would be interesting because that was a time where being a woman, black and gay was a struggle. It would make for great drama.
What was your process?
At first, I just wrote as ideas came to me. I didn’t actually starxt taking notes to determine where my story was going until I picked it back up for publication last year.
Did you have to make an outline, or do you just write?
I always have an outline now, but sometimes it comes to me as I type. But I still try to stay along the lines of my outline, so the story comes together.
One of the most impactful frameworks that undergirds your storyline is the middle-class lifestyle of the black American family in the 40s. What inspired you to present “CBRainbow” as middle class?
I wanted to show what it was like for the average black girl growing up during that time. Also, working-class and middle-class families tend to have stronger family bonds, which was one of the important things about the Jones’ family in this story.
What did you know of the consequences suffered by LGBTQ of that time?
I did some research about women who had to live in secret and some that surprisingly didn’t live in secret. I also took inspiration from vintage films that I have seen about LGBT relationships during that time.
In your experience, what have you seen the most of from teens who experience this trauma of gender bindery issues and refusal to date by parents?
I’ve seen teens that resort to self-harm and attempting suicide. They rebel, which can lead to forming toxic relationships with others. Teens that aren’t allowed to express themselves feel trapped, and living with this, even at a young age can have long term effects on their mental health.
The other impactful framework undergirding your storyline is the phenomenon of Jim Crow. Have you had the chance to speak with older women white and black from the south who identified as lesbian and grew up in the south?
Personally, no. I wish I could have. Even now, I may make it a priority to search for someone who can give me a real look into what they had to deal with. This would be a good story for my blog, and also may help other LGBT youth who may feel stuck living with who they are, even during a time when being queer is more accepted.
Have your presented it to curriculum or professional development workshops?
No, but I am in the process of trying to put together a writing/reading workshop for local youth in shelters.
What else have you worked on since “CBRainbow” was published?
I have published another novel, ‘Was It Her?’ which debuted in February. I also wrote a small collection of short stories called ‘Mahogany Tales: Modern Urban Retellings of Classic Fairy Tales” which I put on Amazon kindle in April.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there anything that you think you’d change pertaining to the storyline in “CBRainbow”?
Without posting any spoilers, let’s just say maybe the ending could have had another outcome. I would have also included a soft sex scene between Darlene and Rose if I was bold enough to take it there.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) of the “CBRainbow” storyline and why?
My favorite part was Dinner at Darlene’s house and the visit to Rose’s house in the garden. Readers really get to see the relationship bloom.
Are you working on a new book title (s)? Can you share with us what the title (s) is and when it will be due?
Yes, I am working on a new book series. It’s an urban fantasy drama about a young black girl who becomes a werewolf. The first book in the series is called River’s Moonlight. I am planning for a 2018 early fall release.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Always hire an editor, or at the very least have someone go over your manuscript. A second set of eyes is always needed. Also, join writer groups on social media, you’ll meet new people and get great advice.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you so much for all of your support! I couldn’t continue writing and publishing without you! I hope you all continue to follow me for all of my future writing journeys!